Book Review—Jesus and the Lions’ Den

Wait, what? JESUS and the Lions’ Den?

Yes, that’s right.

Jesus and the Lions’ Den
written by Alison Mitchell, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri
published by The Good Book Company (2019)
hardcover picture book, 32 pages, 9 x 0.2 x 10.8 inches

I began to love this book as soon as I opened it and saw the vivid endpapers that invoke the Persian setting of the story. Then an intro page explaining how the book works reeled me in.

On the opposite page is a large picture of the special lion for children to find in the illustrations of Daniel’s story.

Because yes, this is the story of Daniel and the Lions, but with a twist! This book links the story of Daniel to the life and purpose of Jesus.

So much of the Old Testament points to Jesus, but it’s often hard for children to catch. This delightful picture book helps them begin to understand.

And it is so much fun!

First, the text gets children thinking about habits. Daniel’s story begins with his habit of praying “to the REAL KING of everyone and everywhere.”

The story unfolds in a conversational style children can relate to.

Oh no! What would Daniel do?
If he obeyed the King of Babylon he would stay safe.
But if he obeyed God—the REAL KING of everyone and everywhere—he would keep praying.
And that meant…Daniel would be lion food!

Of course, Daniel was praying! You know how the story goes.

The illustrations amplify the concise text, just the way art and text should always work together in a good picture book. Here’s one of my favorite illustrations.

The end of Daniel’s story isn’t the end of the book, because now it’s time for kids to see if they found each of the special lions in the illustrations that signify a Jesus moment, and to learn what each one means.

The final lion shows us that God brought Daniel out of certain death in the lions’ den, and God raised Jesus after He died on the cross. God promised to “bring all of his Son’s friends out of death and into life with him, too.”

And in the meantime, we can all keep talking “to the REAL KING of everyone and everywhere—every day!”

Highly recommend.

About These Reviews and Recommendations

My career as a children’s book editor, acquisitions editor, and editorial director greatly influences my response to books. I have high standards for text, illustration, book design, and the purpose of a book.

I understand too that parents, grandparents, and others who buy books want and need good value in the books you choose. Your book budget is not unlimited.

I’m not writing these reviews as hype or promotion for fellow author’s books. I do care about helping authors—after all, I am one. I understand the effort authors pour into every book and the hopes they have for each one. The books I recommend, however, I’m choosing because of the merit I see in the book, no other reason.

I want to point you to the best books more than I want to point out books I don’t like, so I won’t be writing negative reviews. If I can’t support a book, I just won’t write about it. At times, however, I may note details or features I would have changed in a book I otherwise recommend. This is to help you make your own decisions about what books are right for your family.

– Diane

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